We have a plethora of birthdays this time of year and yours truly is the cake maker.
My kids know they can request whatever kind they want and I’ll whip it up for them.
My middle son turned 28 May 1st. After a reminder I hadn’t received his request, did he wish for me to make him a boxed cake?
I got a link to a monstrosity of a 5 layer cake. Initially, I thought it was a joke. But then I’m always down for a challenge and dived into the project
Two brownie layers and three white cake layers.
Yes, that is buttercream frosting between those layers
11 eggs, three packages of butter, 7 cups of sugar, 10 cups of powdered sugar for buttercream frosting, 30 Oreos and brownies that get made with brownie layers to decorate on top and a partridge in a pear tree.
Ok I jest about the partridge 😉
I weighed it.
It weighed 13 pounds.
I don’t exaggerate.
13 pounds of ridiculous deliciousness.
You know what I’m afraid of? I’ve now set the bar to high and who knows what they will come up with next. 😄
Yes, there is a literal second dessert piled on top of this monumental cake.
The aftermath….it is a wee bit tricky cutting five layers.
Even my guys with the biggest appetites were out done by this cake.
We all decided this…the cake and brownie layers were delicious enough to just make independently. The eggs, real butter and buttermilk made it a light, airy melt in your mouth cake.
The brownies had lots of eggs giving them a cake consistency and with all the cocoa powder they had a good chocolate flavor.
Think you wanna try it? Find it in my Homemade Cake folder on Pinterest!
Hello Monday. Quarantine day 854…or something like that.
Are we having fun yet?
I guess I’m really grateful it’s spring and the weather has been gorgeous and since I’m supposed to be home it gives me scads of time to basically do whatever the heck I want.
Not a bad thing right?
I’m grateful too that I can retreat to my hill country home with 28 acres surrounding me with gorgeous views.
I’m grateful also for having a fun little business that I work out of my home. Lately I just find it relaxing and therapeutic.
I’ve also had time to start work on one of my personal projects, an old antique table and chair set. Getting that done will give me alot more space in my barn…space for more furniture 🤣
Here’s a look at that table.. before I started
A sneak peek.. I’ve been busy..
I got the great idea to sand table top. Have I ever mentioned, I hate sanding? This is gonna be worth it though.
Oh. Chairs. It has chairs. I’ve been working on those too. 😱
I need to get this set done because I have an equally old stunning set to do for my dining room….
It looks like this……
Ah.. I love how beautifully old school elegant it all is. I can hardly wait to transform it.
Anyway, even with all that’s going on I feel grateful for all the good things too.
I’m grateful even though my shop is closed, I’ve got several custom orders to keep me busy and making a little cash. It’s rather cool to do things I love and get paid for it as well😉
It’s not all smooth sailing
Hey, I feel like you do too. I miss just deciding to randomly go somewhere without a care in doing so.
Now, I feel almost guilty popping into the store to get a few things. Like…get it…go…get home.
I think what I really.. hate…are the looks on people’s faces. How they look at you like you might brush something off on them. The avoidance of making eye contact or scurrying away. A human disconnect.
It is what it is.
I will do my part. I only go to get what I need and leave.
I keep sanitizer in my car and use it before and after going somewhere. I try to be mindful of my “position ” around people.
I find it all tiring and going home really is a much better,more comfortable option.
Even with all of that…
I’m grateful. Life is still good. I have all my needs met.
I’m glad I can take care of my own nails and that I got my hair all pretty before the salons had to close. 😉 That certainly isn’t earth shattering but small things make me feel good.
And feeling good in a weird world right now, helps.
Making time for self care
More than ever we not only need to take care of our physical health, but mental health too
Exercise is good for both.
Again, I’m happy I’ve been doing the home workout thing for years so it’s life as usual for me. For others though it’s an adjustment of figuring out what to do.
With the weather turning nice, getting out for daily walks is a good option for most everyone. With extra time for many right now, there’s no reason to not get some purposeful movement in.
You may also consider a new hobby or activity to pursue. Start a new book or pursue an online course.
Life is still going on,even if it’s not so conventional right now.
Even though my shop is closed I’m making plans for new business opportunities.
There are plenty of things for us to keep focused on and we can use this time for growth and learning and hopefully not feeding our fears or anxieties.
Before I go…
We are entering birthday season in my family. My kids always request some favorite cake for me to make for their birthday.
My daughter in law found a rather different one this year and…oh my…I can’t say how good it was. It got rave reviews and I think it would make a great Easter dessert.
Lemon blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese frosting.
And because I know you will want to try it, I’ll attach the link for you
So as I’m lounging on my sofa tonight drinking copious amounts of coffee I keep thinking it’s already Sunday night, yet it’s not.
Yay…one more weekend day.
It IS entirely probable my brain is fried from a busy day of hosting my 3 year old granddaughters birthday party with a house full of loud, active and busy kids hyped up on youthful energy and a dash of sugar.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it.
The birthday party was a success and my granddaughter embraced the day with complete wild abandon.
I would not have expected any less from her.
I joke she’s my spirit animal but really I aspire to live each day with the constant joy and enthusiasm she has for all situations.
Ah…but back to the weekend
That means time to work on more of my vintage and antique projects. I need more time! 😫
I’ve picked up some uber cool pieces the past couple weeks. Between doing pieces for my shop ( things are moving out fairly quick there..not a bad problem) I’ve picked up quite a few custom orders as well as repeat customers so I guess you can say I always have a project going on.
Not a bad problem to have.
Ok …I know you wanna see some of the goodies… 😁
What about this turn of the century serpentine dresser?
It gets its name from the style of drawers..
The lady advertised *it needs work”. Thankfully, I have mad repair skills.
Oh…did I mention this beauty was 5.00?
Yes you’re reading right. It’s gonna cost a ton of labor but the end result will be awesome.
***listen to that confidence***
What about this old radio cabinet?
Yeah check out the original label in it…
I have a customer who quickly claimed it. She will put a stereo in where old one was…she wants it for her boys who collect records. I’m sanding and staining it for her.
And then I finished off this custom order. I got this old vanity and bench last summer. I showed it to a customer and she wanted it for a desk. The bench stayed with me for another project
Oh….here’s the after pic….
Sweet, clean and ready for a new adventure.
In more reflective thoughts….
I’ve got two things dancing in my head.
1. When did the world become so full of self entitled people?
2. Do young people really have such a poor working knowledge of basic daily math?
Ok..my first thought.
This has been in my head awhile from various experiences.
Working at my sons shop ( ah.. dealing with the public) I’m often shocked at customers who think they don’t have to pay for a service or think they shouldn’t have to pay what has been charged or he should do work for free,the list goes on…. there are times I’m left speechless.
Hmm… or more like attempting to hold my tongue. 🙄
However I had a personal experience this weekend when a customer went to my shop to buy a piece of furniture. I wasn’t working on this day ( we’re a co-op and as vendors work a few days a month) she had previously messaged me about price and I told her what it was. Yet when she got to shop, she angled at getting a lower price. Her husband even suggested to checker they should get it for even less. Then went on to act shocked/annoyed they had to pay tax.
Like…dude. This isn’t a yard sale and do you even live in this country? This is a store…you pay tax. This is life.
Death and taxes… it’s a given.
Self entitlement. It’s an ugly thing in our society.
My second point.
I had two similar experiences this week. I had stopped at a new coffee shop to you know, share the wealth and to try their coffee.
After getting past the shock of my small cold brew being 4.33 I handed her my money.
You get it, right?
Now let me say I’m not the world’s best math whiz. I don’t know who ever thought that putting the alphabet in math problems was a good thing and I literally passed high school algebra by the skin of my teeth.
But daily working math? I’ve got that. I can count change back and run mental numbers in my head. I can figure percentages and do estimates etc
You know….Basic life math that we all need.
It appears a lot of young people can’t do that.
The young girl took my money and proceeded to hand me change as if I hadn’t given her the change with my bill. I told her ijust needed 6.00 back.
She then fished more change out and handed me that along with my change and I said I don’t need change, just 6.00.
She laughed nervously and said “ohhhh I get it”
I’m pretty sure she didn’t get it.
Then on another day in a drive thru. My order was 2.52.
I tripped the poor guy up handing him 10.52.
I waited…and waited…wondering if I was gonna get my change back. Finally he slowly handed my money out the window.
I said “Hey sweetie I’m supposed to get 8.00 back” to which he asked for my receipt?
Then he carefully handed 2.00 more out the window. I imagined him standing there trying to figure out what fresh hell I was putting him through as he attempted to decipher how much money to give me back.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Is the younger generation so dependent on machines to think that they can’t operate with basic, easy skills?
Remember counting in ones,fives, tens, etc in elementary school? Isn’t that the basic idea in counting money?
What happened here?
When I mentioned it to my son ( who is a part of this generation) his response… they’re all dumb. 😱
That may be a bit harsh, but it’s a disturbing reality in our society.
Maybe we should bring back home economics and basic life skills classes? 🤔
Ok I’ll hop off my soap box now and on to complete randomness you could do without
Do you know Amazon has something called “chip fingers”?
And yeah, I didn’t know what they were either, but thanks to my little band of misfit friends I got educated.
Evidently they are like little socks for your finger tips so while you’re noshing on Cheetos or Doritos you don’t get those nuclear orange finger tips…I hope you aren’t eating those…. but if you do they are evidently helpful for keeping your fingers clean from eating anything messy.
Ah…how did we ever get along before?? I’ll attach the link so you know I’m not tricking you 😉
Maybe you should buy a set and impress your friends.
Speaking of orange
Ii see all the fall stuff showing up in the stores, but honestly with Texas still rocking July like temps, it does not put me on the fall mood…at all.
Ii did recently give in and buy an adorable sweater with the anticipation that some day I may get to wear it…
I may have bought a thing or two else along with it…..
Seriously though, I’m ready for some of those perfect fall days.
Has fall showed up where you live?
My athletic shenanigans. This sums up exactly how I feel…….
I’ve been off running for months. Long story short, an x ray date with my sports doctor, me thinking I’ve done something that’s gonna need surgery and he presents me with “you have arthritis ” was not what I was prepared to hear.
I’ve been doing some PT work to stretch and work muscles that have gotten tight with a greatly reduced physical work load. Gonna see how some of this helps and just go from there. I’ll tell you this…I’m not gonna just take this and go lay down somewhere nor do I plan on giving up.
There will be an upcoming post on my PT adventures…so stay tuned for that 😜
Meanwhile, I’m increasing my strength training days. I even upped my dead lifts last week to 185, so there’s that. Rowing is a good substitute for running so I will continue my rowing skills and of course, cycling. That should keep me busy, right?
Your turn….what’s going on in your world? Has fall showed up yet? What athletic activities keep you busy?
So it’s a dark and rainy night here tonight. I “feel” like I should be doing something “productive” instead I’m plopped on my sofa in oversized clothes drinking copious amounts of coffee.
I may or may not sleep tonight.
I decided I could be productive and write, but don’t feel motivated enough to have to think to hard writing on my usual health/fitness/lifestyle/nutrition mantra.
Yeah I do try and be on my A game when I deliver all that stuff…
Soooo…since I was goaded recently by a fellow blogger ( *cough * he shall remain nameless) that I hadn’t written a post recently on my other life….that of furniture flipping…vintage and antique kinds of goodies that is.. I decided tonight was the night.
That comes easy enough to chat with you over coffee Haha
Me: I literally just stumbled into it last year. Like seriously. I did a piece or two. It was fun. The visions came without effort. People liked it and started buying it and well…here I am
I always joked my mom had all the artistic talent. And she did. She could paint all kinds of things and it actually looked like…rose’s or scenery, tiny details or whatever…
She tried hard to “teach” me. Sigh…. my art work was less than stellar.
Along the way I learned my gifts were more “active” and just decided I had no creativity.
So of course it came as a surprise to me when the furniture thing came so effortlessly to me. I’ve been asked by lots of people if I could teach them how to do it.
Yeah, I could do that. But what I can’t teach is the stuff that’s in my head. The way I get almost immediate visions for pieces. The way I can see the end result already in my head.
I can’t teach you that.
It’s at that point I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t have my mothers artistic abilities, they were just…. different….and that was ok.
Not only ok, it was cool. Cool to do something that took a piece from ugly and hopeless to updated, beautiful and useful again.
I cannot begin to say how satisfying it makes my “work”.
I like old things and I cannot lie…
My son asked me years ago before I was even into this why I liked “old junk”. I have appreciated, for a long time, older things. It’s just gotten stronger as I’ve aged. Perhaps I just have a different appreciation for it.
They have a life and story to them that modern day items do not have. There is a “feel” to them. They have somehow traveled through time, families, traded hands numerous times and somehow I get entrusted with it.
The pieces bare wear marks, scratches, missing parts etc of the life they’ve lived. I never try and make an old piece look “perfect”. It has lived life and should still have reflections of it.
I’ll show you some projects..…
I’ve done quite a few things now. I have literally a barn of cool things waiting for me….some personal…others to sell..
I picked up this 1930s radio cabinet last month for 25.00. I knew I was keeping it. I’ve repurposed it to use in my kitchen to hold linens and baking items
It’s pretty beat up from age. The top opens where the radio used to sit. We are putting a solid piece in so I can store linens. The details make me wanna weep they are so gorgeous.
Ok you wanna see it now?
The back isn’t finished yet…but you can see all the pretty parts. I hand sanded the paint back off all the details so they’d pop. I left the doors original for some contrast and because I always try and leave some of its former life if I can. This makes such a pretty piece in my kitchen now.
How about this old button box? It was so dark and dreary…I love how sweet it looks now!
That sold almost as soon as I posted it.
I found this awful, sad and crusty table at a thrift store but I could see its potential…
Look at how it transformed though!
How sweet is it now??
But then I found a vintage suitcase. Hubby asked what I was going to do with it. The corner was broken and crushed.
Me…with confidence…I’m gonna fix it up! Hahaha ( have I mentioned how much I love a good challenge?)
Let the repair work begin!
I dragged in some old weights to plop in corners while gluing damaged area….
Then the base coat after repairs.. can you tell which corner was broken down? you ready to see the end results?
Of course you are 😉
Not bad for a broken down suitcase right? I was soooo thrilled with how it came out.
Then I bought this old, brown antique table. Solid wood and heavy with gorgeous details, I couldn’t pass it up.
And it’s much brighter after pics …
Another piece that sold almost immediately:)
Ok I’ll show you one more…..
I got this cute vanity that was someone else’s better idea project they abandoned
And it’s transformed look….
I found the little bench a few weeks later and it was perfect for it.
I had been itching to do something in pink and black and this was the perfect set to work it out on. I had scored the black and white paper at the thrift store and wanted to use that too. It all came together so well.
It was all meant to be together ha
Do you love all things vintage?
Ok I’ll shamelessly plug my business page and you can follow all of my furniture flipping shenanigans there if you like.
It’s a page devoted to sharing with others my transforming work, selling some of it, and educating when I can on various pieces.
I do occasional posts here on it ( often in my Monday Musings posts) but my business page is all things vintage fun. Mostly furniture but I get other items as well. Currently bread boxes are the cats meow. They sell as soon as I finish them. Hubby was teasing me one week ’cause I had actually managed to get my hands on a few and I had one in my shop.
“you have four bread boxes.”
A week later they were all gone. 🙂
Ok so here is the page:
If this wasn’t enough vintage/furniture flipping reading find a couple other posts here..
I’m not sure how this has happened but here we are on another Monday again. Did the week sail by and I missed it or what?
Or… is it true.. the older you get the faster time goes?
And I’m getting older.. but more on that later…
In this weeks news we finally had rain! True it came in on the afternoon of July 4th and probably shut down lots of outdoor celebrations but it’s hard to complain when the grass has been crunching under foot for over a month now.
But then we had rain the next few days too so that’s a total win.
*** And in a side note as I’m preparing to launch this post, it’s been storming here since early morning hours. Am I the only one who loves waking up to the sound of a thunder and rain on the roof?
And rain means getting to break out those rainy day garments that mostly hang out in the closest… for a girl who likes fun clothes and gear… it’s a win/win thing.
Speaking of fun stuff….
I kinda have a birthday later this week. Due to logistics of getting all the fam together we had the big celebration this weekend but I plan to milk the upcoming week for all it’s worth 😉
Hubby surprised me.. totally caught me off guard with his gift….. check out what I got.
I’m not sure but he may have been worried about me trying to make a video while holding my phone, flying off a hill on my bike, or the fact I’ve talked about paddle boarding and having my phone out on the open water 😛 I love that he supports my adventurous nature.
Anyway, I feel fairly certain you’ll be hearing more about this in the future… once I read all the directions 😛
On the topic of reading….
When I’m not flying down the road on foot or bike or flipping furniture or just doing life, I really do like to read.
I’ve always loved words and I’ve always enjoyed reading. One of my favorite things I did during the summer as a kid was go to the library and drag home bags of books to read.
Once I had kids, it was something I enjoyed taking them to do during the summer.
My kids are grown now but I still love going. There is something about walking in and seeing rows and rows of books, and that “library smell” that whisks me back to earlier, simpler days of my life when I could get lost for hours in a book without a care in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I can still read for hours but gosh, adulting often comes calling and I have to abandon reading till those things are done.
I love all kinds of books but I really love books I can get lost in with a good story line that don’t demand anything from me but that I enjoy them.
Summers really are meant for carefree days spent reading, aren’t they?
Summers are also meant for easy foods right?
I made this new baked bean recipe recently and it was a huge hit. Note it makes a pretty good amount so you can feed a lot of people.
I also experimented on the fam with this dinner recipe last week. It was easy and well liked so it may get used again….
During the summer I’m all about what I can put together easily, what feeds lots of people and is nutritious and tasty too. The longer days have me involved in projects and I like having meals that don’t take forever to put together.
you know I’ve gotta tell you about some of my furniture adventures, right?
So I got this group of 4 chairs yesterday, and how nice, someone has actually sanded them and made new board seats which speeds my work up 😛 I love old chairs to flip, each one is a fun project unto itself. I can hardly wait to see what clever ideas come to mind for them.
I got this cute little vanity with a stunning mirror about a month ago. I just finished it’s transformation. I love how simple and clean it looks now.
There are some pieces I really want to keep…. this is one of them… but hopefully it will be going to a new home soon.
I’ve been busy at work on it and can hardly wait to show you… it’s going to be so gorgeous! Nothing feels more rewarding than transforming something ghastly into something beautiful and usable again.
My week ahead will be full with all the usual life stuff and in the mix of that finding time to read, write, and work on my projects that is slowly becoming a fun little side business.
My birthday is actually Wed so I have plans to do things that I love doing and to enjoy the people in my life who make me happy.
I was reading the other day that we all move through our life doing things that we (personally) enjoy and we learn to make room for doing those things that matter to us.
I try and take care of the “necessary” stuff in life ( ugh like cleaning) but get it done quickly so I have more time for the things that make me happy and give me joy. I hope you have time in your days for doing things that bring you simple joy.
Now tell me what adventures you’ve been on this week. Have you got any good reading suggestions for the summer? Tried any new healthy recipes? What are things you do in your life that bring you a simple joy to do them?
Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings where I let my thoughts out to play….well most of them… some need kept under lock and key haha
Here we are in another week and I’m ready to take no prisoners, carpe diem and all that, right boys and girls?
I ended my week yesterday by knocking out some miles on the bike. I always say it’s not the “miles” but what’s IN those miles that really counts. Sometimes it’s both as well.
Usually when I am training for something I do what I think of as “pieces” I’m putting together for a puzzle. I work sections and gradually put them together till I’m doing all of a long run or ride etc. Training for the duathlon has many pieces for me. I had thought last week after finishing a particular section of road with some big hills that I’d branch out farther and start adding more miles and getting more time out on the road where the race is held.
I had this great idea that I was just gonna go out and do the whole thing on Sunday. No pressure to ride fast or capture new PR’s or anything like that. Just ride, get the course under me mentally and physically again.
I mean… if I started feeling like an old lady and needed to stop and rest under a tree I could, right? ( ha for the record I didn’t 😉 )
I know I have a good strong physical base so I thought if I got the whole thing under me, it would definitely give me a good idea of how hard I can start pushing myself.
I got about 5 easy miles in before I headed to the main road that took me all the way down, then back that encompasses the whole course.
I’m just gonna say… it’s work…ok? This race isn’t listed as the toughest in the state for nothing.
So I did it. Did the whole thing. Finished with 22.5 miles although the mileage for course is a little over 16 beastly miles.
It was a good ride and I feel ready to really push into my training in these upcoming months. And I do love getting back into the thick of training…. the tiredness that only comes from a hard workout, the fierce hunger I can only experience once my training increases, the solid night sleep where you can move the house from under me ( try it!) the increased strength and power I grow into again as my body adapts to the heavier training, getting more chiseled as I drop some body fat, setting new Pr’s… I love it all.
All that work though makes me hungry….
I had to venture to the store over the weekend ’cause ya know, I like to eat. And so do the other random people who wander into my house.
On a side note, it always amuses me how one of my married sons can venture into my pantry or ‘fridge and complain about what’s not there.
Like…dude. You’re married you have your own home and pantry…stock it with whatever junk food you wanna find.
Anyway… I went to the store. I was out of a lot of produce and I start to get concerned when I don’t have fresh stuff… well not really… I wanted donuts too 😉
So I do all my shopping, find a lane that is open, and get the process rolling to get out.
The bagging part always makes me edgy.
Will I get a good bagger? Will I get the cashier having to do both? ( I usually jump in when that happens) or will I get someone who didn’t finish bagging school?
I got a bagger and a checker who didn’t make it out of bagging school.
Let me pose this question…. shouldn’t bagging groceries be a common sense act?
It should right?
Bananas should not be tossed into a bag with other things piled in on top. Chips don’t get tossed in with canned goods. Frozen foods and produce shouldn’t all be thrown in my freezer bag. Bread shouldn’t be “pushed” into an already full bag.
Yet I watched all of those things happen… horrified… like I’m paying for this food you are bending and smooshing everywhere.
I paid, thanked them both, and left. When I got to my car I was rearranging my stuff. Does anyone else do that?
Tell me, IS bagging groceries a common sense activity?? Or is it a skill reserved for a few?
The joy of people watching
So I couldn’t help but noticing people when I was out…. noticing on a day topping into 100 degrees why so many were wearing … jeans??
My legs won’t see jeans till Oct… maybe…
I can’t think of anything more hot to wear than denim from waist to ankle. Maybe I’m weird… ok well you could take the “maybe” out…. but I just can’t do it. Summer means cool, light, breezy, enough to be legal, fun clothes for all these sweltering hot months we’re in.
I’m just not in the “jeans in hot weather” club. That my friends, are what shorts are for.
Can you believe it’s July already?
We’re gonna be celebrating the 4th in a couple days and that means food, and maybe a little more food.
I found this amazing looking baked bean recipe that’s gonna be on the menu, among other things 🙂 The chocolate coffee/mocha brownies have been requested and I will make a double batch having learned from my previous experience a single batch was not enough.
I’m sure there will be watermelon and I will have my once a year participation in eating hotdogs. 😛
We won’t be purchasing any fireworks as there is a ban on them since we’ve had no rain and everything is so dry here.
July also means birthday month for yours truly so there will be a post on getting another year closer to my senior breakfast discount as well thoughts, observations and life lessons learned from the year gone by.
You know I gotta keep you posted on my furniture shenanigans…..
I finished this little table off yesterday and I love it so much. It’s had lots of positive feedback and I’ve had a couple people come look at it….
Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before….
A nice little improvement, hmmm? Once I got the top sanded down I decided the ebony would be a nice change but I did it light enough so the wood grain would still show through. It’s fresh and crisp and ready for years of service. This is a Mersman antique table, I thought the fold out part was rather cool. I literally picked it up on our trip to Canton last month as we were heading out of town. It was like it was just sitting there waiting for me haha I’m glad we found each other 😉
Oh, and in other exciting news, I sold several pieces this week so that always encourages me to keep on going. Heaven knows I’ve got plenty of projects waiting for me to set them free from ugliness 😉
Ok that’s a wrap on today’s edition… there’s a lot more I could blab on but… we both have lives to get to, right?
Have an amazing week beautiful people!
Ok it’s your turn to weigh in…. thoughts on my question of bagging food… is it common sense to bag groceries a particular way? Will you wear jeans when it’s hot? If you live in the U.S. what will you be doing for the 4th of July? Any fun foods or treats?
“So, that piece you did. You just paint it, right?” I tried not to choke and laugh all at once and instead I did some kind of unladylike snort thing.
The person was asking about a cute chair I had recently finished.
Ok.. before I go on… if you’re just joining the party this is a kind of a Part 2 to my post from yesterday, The Art Of Flipping Furniture. You can find it here if you wanna catch up, if not, continue to read on…..
As I’ve ventured into this interesting hobby/growing side business, I’ve learned there are all kinds of interesting variables going on.
The first being, it could be assumed that I go buy a piece of cast away furniture, run home, and slap paint all over it.
That being said, there are people who do that. It makes me sad to see a gorgeous piece of furniture that has obviously been hastily painted, and before paint has even dried they have snapped photos to put it up for sale.
It’s usually still sitting on a trailer, the back of a truck, in a yard or garage on concrete blocks with random junk around it. But my favorite was a beautiful vanity piece ( originally it was beautiful) sitting in a dirt yard on cardboard with crunched up soda or beer cans behind it and a tire to the side of it. No hardware back on drawers.
I am setting myself apart with other furniture artists who invest ourselves into our pieces for the pure love and joy of it understanding we will on some occasions, not get a dollar amount equal to our investment of time and resources.
We love making things once tired, bland, broken and ugly, beautiful with a fresh new life to give.
So, I thought I’d kinda conclude this topic by sharing a little of what goes into the process so when you see a unique, old, hand painted piece of furniture for sale you can also understand the price that may be attached to it.
We just don’t take it home and slap paint on it.
Get comfy, it’s time to go on the journey.
The first time I called it that, my family laughed. But really, I do view it as a hunt. I have several places I stalk online and really, if there is something super cool, and if it happens to be a good price, it’s gone instantly. You have to almost see it the second it’s posted to get it.
There are so many things that I don’t want, or that are not that old or even that impressive. I know what I like when I see it. I also consider what it’s flip ability is. If it’s something I want personally, well I have a little more wiggle room ’cause I don’t mind paying a bit more for something I’m keeping.
Now I’ve learned the hard way, just because I’ve found an item I want, confirmed with the seller, set a time for pick up and got an address doesn’t mean I’ll get it.
Without blinking an eye people have sold things out from under me. I try to understand if they are that desperate for money from someone else who gets there an hour before I do… well they must need it really bad.
It is still ridiculously frustrating when that happens.
But when I find the item I want, and arrange pick up with seller it’s time to do what I call …..
Go bag the game
As a hunter, if you’re successful you get what you’re hunting for. But here’s the deal, once I score a piece of furniture it’s rarely close by. I’ve driven one way over an hour to get pieces.
All the cool stuff is a good drive away.
So, there’s time and gas going to get the prize. I’ve gone to some seedy kind of places getting stuff. I usually am the one helping load or doing it alone ( yay for girl muscles)
I take blankets or something to put down because the furniture has usually been stashed or stored somewhere, it’s old, total filth, sometimes it has an odor and desperately needs cleaned.
I’m thrilled, load it up and head home. That’s when I can officially let my ideas start forming.
I have it.
Nothing is worse than seeing a piece I want, having ideas, then not getting it.
Usually when I get a piece home I do an assessment of it, what it’s needs are. Some pieces are pretty straightforward and don’t need much more than a light sanding and washing down to prep them.
That is really, the rare thing.
Most pieces need anything from a lot of sanding, to sucking leaves out of the inside of a cabinet and removing years of dust, dirt and grime before I can even consider painting.
Sanding. I do most of it by hand. It’s off the charts messy.. for me and the furniture 😉
I’ve bought pieces with veneer damage so I need to set aside time to do repair work before anything else can happen.
Some areas have cracks and holes that require wood filler. Once that’s placed it has to dry, be sanded, and often filled again to the area is smooth and level.
Have I mentioned my carpentry skills have increased a 100% doing this work? haha
Old furniture is cool, but age has caused the varnish to get dry and brittle and it’s often flaking off. This all has to be sanded before any painting begins.
I’m going to use this chair that I’m currently working on as an example….
Sometimes, as in the case of chairs, the legs or connections are loose or separated and need glued and clamped to make them more secure. The seats are usually original wood and have become weak and brittle.
New seat bottoms need cut…oh but that means a trip to local hardware store to get some plywood for new seats. Time to spend some money.
Can’t have my potential customer falling through, can I ?
Ah! And now, we get to paint! The chair has been sanded down removing all old flaking varnish, I’ve glued and repaired legs and support bar, washed the piece, air dried then sprayed with a Matte shellac to prevent any bleed through from dark areas.
Once that set, the chair got it’s first coat of slate blue that I love. Once it dries ( chalk paint has a fast dry time) it will get touched up in areas that were missed, allowed to dry, lightly sanded, then I will clear wax it and go back with a dark wax that will accent and pop all of its unique details out. While that settles, I will take it’s new seat, add the new foam and fabric I purchased to make a bright cushion for it. All that will remain to be done will secure the seat back to the chair ( fortunately it had all it’s original screws)
After that, it will finally, be ready for a new home.
Other stuff in the process
Sometimes, on furniture a piece of hardware or fixtures are missing so I have to hunt it down which depending on age is tricky, again another cost involved in process. The perfect piece has all of its original fixtures.
Oh speaking of the hardware… all that is usually tarnished and dirty from years of neglect so it needs taken off and cleaned. Sometimes, it’s an easy job, other times it’s time consuming and frustrating.
Some pieces have bad veneer damage and I’ve made the decision to take it off.
Can you say, work? It’s a ton of work scraping off glued on veneer. However, if the surface is especially bad it’s worth the time to get to a fresh smooth surface underneath it.
Other times, I’ve tackled the veneer damaged and focused on repairing it, especially if I’m painting it.
Some pieces like a desk I did recently, require being totally sanded down, which I do by hand.
One table I recently purchased, it’s so cute, it opens up and the closes back to a half table. I wanted to try and sand the top down and re stain it and perhaps do a color on the table. Hubby got a good start on it but I’ve been working on all the edges this week, Do you know how tedious it is, sanding those edges? Or how careful you have to work with the veneer so you don’t chip or crack it in the process?
This is just a slow, time consuming process, but the end result will be so worth it.
Some recently finished work…..
So back to that original question….
“So you “just” paint it, right?” Well, as you can see the painting, new stain, or whatever look it gets, is really the last part of the process.
It’s the fun part.
Picking up and purchasing the piece, cleaning, repairing, sanding, prepping, painting, then top sealing with wax or a poly top coat, cleaning hardware, making new cushions etc. are all a part of the unique process of renovating antique or vintage items.
Besides the cost of the actual piece, the time and gas to get it, the supplies needed to do the job, and the hours and labor the artist puts into it may help you understand better the pricing on a unique, one of a kind, piece of hand painted furniture that you won’t be able to find at your local furniture store.
Thanks for hanging out with me in this two part special! I hope this gives you a little more insight into the topic of “renovated” or “upscaled” old furniture. I hope that it has also given you a better idea of the labor of love it is for so many of us.
Do you have any hobbies or projects you enjoy that you do as a “labor of love” and enjoyment?
So I’ve been promising this post to you for awhile and I’ve got plenty of time on my hands and ideas in my head so I’m gonna do it. Back when I started my blog I sometimes wrestled with going off the beaten path of what my brand is, what I’m about, and what the blog ultimately is about.
But then I’ve got this cool published author friend and she said “you are more than just a health and fitness whiz. There is a whole lot more to who you are and what you do than “just” that. Your readers will want a well rounded version of you. Share life with them”
Since that time, I’ve heeded her advice and will often bring posts that have nothing to do with the overarching theme of what my blog primarily is. But I do bring life stuff. And I am well rounded haha and I do have fun letting loose on other topics… so for todays offerings… here we go…
I’ve shared tidbits with you about another part of my life, my obsession, or rather “hobby”.
Yes, let’s call it a hobby shall we ?
I have offered up some of my projects in my Monday Musings just because it gives me an outlet to kinda show some of it off.
It’s a hobby that’s turning into a little side business.
Hobby. Obsession. Business.
Where is the dividing line? Questions to be pondered….
If you’ve missed it, I’m referring to my flipping vintage and antique furniture.
I’ve shared photos of horrible pieces I’ve dragged home and transformed. For some reason, the worse it is, the more I like it.
I’m pretty sure it’s ’cause in general, I just like challenges. And believe me some have presented some challenges. It makes me appreciate an easy, straight forward piece sooooo much more!
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a stunning old piece when it comes around. But if it’s a piece that I think I’d leave “as is” then that leaves me out. I just won’t ruin something that has made it’s way through time and is still in a beautiful, usable condition.
Other things though, they haven’t fared so well. Neglect, cheap wood, flaking varnish, sun exposure, veneer damage … the list can go on…. those items are begging for a fresh look.
I’ve said it before, just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s in the best shape to restore to some former glory.
And honestly today, many people don’t want bland, standard, varnished brown furniture. They want bright, crisp, clean looks in their homes.
They want something unique you can’t pick up at Ikea or Target. They want real, solid wood furniture and they want a piece that will enhance a part of their home.
Of course I also know the value of a beautiful piece, the wood quality, and that even if it stays in imperfect condition, it’s more beautiful in that look.
So what I do with it largely depends on what it is and it’s overall condition and how it can be given new life and function in todays world.
How long have you been doing this?
That’s a question I’ve fielded a lot lately since people who know me see it as a “new” thing.
Well, it kinda is. Meaning I really haven’t done this for long.
Actually, I kinda just stumbled into this arena and it turns out I’m good at it.
People actually like my stuff.
I never saw myself as the creative, artsy type. My mom was ridiculously talented in painting. I mean she could paint roses that looked like they were blooming off a plate. She had stunning penmanship when she was healthy before it became harder for her to write. She could paint outdoor scenery and all kinds of amazing things.
She tried with me. I remember one year she bought me this whole cool set on painting and flowers and all things lovely. She showed me some simple steps to making a rose.
Honestly, mine looked like those little flowers you doodle out in 5th grade art class. Why didn’t my rose look like it came off “Rose Month” magazine??
I yielded to the idea that the artsy gene skipped me. Just like the amazing green thumb my father had skipped me as well.
Plants come home from the store to die with me but that my readers, is another post for another day.
I grew up and accepted the talents and skills I had, even though my mom secretly believed I had it in me.
I do have a very creative mind. It’s just my creativity has always flowed in other directions.
I had done some creative “repair” work in the past on much smaller objects. In a post I shared about cardboard Christmas houses, I talked about doing some restoration work on a few.
Not tacky with big plastic modern day Santa’s but more of a desire to keep it as close to original form as I could.
That perhaps, was the breeding ground for where I am now. And maybe, in a different type of way, I really did get some of her art skills.
The thrill of the hunt
Part of what excites me really in this process is hunting for that piece that speaks to me.
Oh, and that I can afford. Obviously, flipping furniture I won’t pay the crazy amount some people want for stuff. If it’s a piece I personally want then I don’t mind spending a bit more.
So there’s the hunt. The looking for the right item, the right price, and then hoping I can be the one to swoop it up before someone else does. I want wood, not fake stuff and I overall prefer vintage or antique although I will take a modern piece if it’s super cool and I can see a vision for it ( I picked up a little carved table last month, did my magic on it, listed and sold it in under 30 minutes. I could’ve sold it 8 times. Go figure)
Nothing is more disappointing than starting to love a piece, seeing a vision for it, and then it sells out from under me.
I’ve told myself… “don’t start planning or celebrating ’til you’re driving home with it” then I can let my ideas out.
Ok so it sounded crazy to me until I read some other posts by people who flip furniture and they would get visions for how it should look. Sometimes, the idea is so strong and powerful in my head I act on it immediately. Last week, I swooped up this feminine sweet chair that had seen better days. I immediately knew how to do it, even stopping at the hobby store on the way home and finding the exact fabric I wanted for its new cushion. It has been one of my most favorite pieces so far.
I’ll let you take a look at it below….
I can’t tell you how vivid and clear the vision was for this. So much so that I bumped it to the top of my list to do it. I love having things come out of my head and seeing them come to life just as I imagined.
Ok I’ll share another project chair I finished this week too. I got it in a group of three. Chairs haven’t been something I had previously gone after but they are often old unmarried pieces and make fun, interesting and unique accent chairs. I love the idea each one can have it’s own look and theme,
When I saw this chair group I caught an immediate vision for one. I have a plan for a second and it is currently in the works.
I wanted to make one bold and fun. I went back for fabric I passed on when I did my telephone bench. I didn’t “feel” it for that project. But when I saw the chair I knew I had to go back for this particular material for it.
Check it out and you’ll see what I mean….
To paint or not to paint?
As I mentioned above I have a healthy respect for quality wood pieces and if they need to be left and oiled and preserved then I will do that. For instance I shared in a post about this cool, massive dresser/cabinet with a huge mirror. A stunning piece I got off Craigslist for 80.00.
After dragging all it’s parts home and researching I learn it’s made of quarter sawn oak ( such beautiful wood) and most likely early 1900 in construction. I was stunned that this piece was left behind and the other stuff he had for sale was gone.
Lucky me. I think it’s very unusual and perhaps a bit rare. I’ve found nothing like it at all in my searchings. Items similar, but nothing like this piece.
I’m carefully oiling it, cleaning it, and allowing it’s 100+ vibe to shine through. That’s it. I’d never consider painting it.
However, for so many other projects, paint is a improvement and help to it’s overall abuse and sad condition. Sometimes there are repairs that need done as well as various issues the piece may have and a lovely coat of paint and sometimes some wax or antiquing gives it a fresh new look ready for more years of service.
Chalk paint is my favorite medium to operate in. Not only is it super easy to work with, it’s extremely forgiving as well. Not only that, I make my own now so my colors schemes are endless and I can match a perfect color for a project as I did with my pink chair above. After sanding and topcoat the finish is silky smooth and beautiful.
Ok a peek at one I finished up this past week….
I bought this from a guy who was older and said he had found it in his grandmothers attic and was cleaning out. Solid wood, 2 tiered, and cute little clawed feet I was immediately drawn to it, a fun antique piece.
It also felt “masculine” to me so I felt an immediate connection with what I wanted to do with it. I mentioned enjoying straight forward pieces? This was one of those. I love how it came out… I’ll let you take a look….
Yeah, blue with black wax to pull out all of it’s lovely details. It was a good combination for a masculine table.
It’s always so satisfying seeing something drab, dirty, tired and left and forgotten about turn into a usable, fun piece for years ahead.
Well, let’s just say, I’m not at a loss for projects. I’ve got several things in the works and several in the wings waiting.
Of course, that doesn’t stop me from hunting for good deals to still drag home.
I’m working on coming up with a separate name and a separate identity for my “hobby”. I am learning new things all the time and am blessed to have connections with a few talented people who do this as well.
Tomorrow, stay tuned for the final part of my sharing on this topic. ( I was trying to not write another War and Peace novel 😉 )
I’ll share a bit more on a question that’s been posed a couple times… “well, don’t you just put paint on it?”
Well.. kinda…eventually… yes.
But what happens before the fun part of painting? This is where any creative artist earns their money… and that’s all I’m gonna say… you’ll just have to come back and find out the rest in the final part of this project 😉 Check in tomorrow….
Tell me.. do you have a favorite hobby? Have you ever started something randomly and seen it grow and take off in your life?